The Finished Dinghy
Here is the finished product in all its glory. Note the near perfect alignment of antifouling and the water below. The registration is now sprayed on permanently to deter theft. We found the hole that made the front compartment leak, so now the dinghy is holding pressure all Summer. Well done!
Looks like it rained.
In our years of use we also abandoned the promising built-in fuel tank. While it was nice to have the fuel in the bow of the boat, we also had a lot of trouble with water getting into the fuel and clogging the engine. Eventually we went with a more conventional fuel tank located in the bow of the boat.
The bow storage locker now holds life vests so we are coast guard compliant without a mess. The only downside to the removal of the fuel tank was the potential for leaks in the old thru-deck connections for the hose. Large thunderstorms could fill the compartment under the floor with a lot of freshwater. However, just a few dabs of epoxy sealed the holes
Unfortunately, very bad things can happen to good boats. While nothing of value is stored in the Cats PJ's whenever it isn't in use we have been "blessed" by thieves. Our previous winter haul out, the Dolphin Marina in Harpswell, ME witnessed the disappearance of a brand new outboard along with our first dinghy. While the dinghy was easily accessible (stored for the winter under the boat), the outboard was stolen from a presumably locked facility at the marina above the busy restaurant.
I cannot help but think it was an inside job. The owner of the marina was apologetic, but did not want to publicly pursue the thieves (which would have caused him embarrassment). He just wanted us to forget about it - easy for him to say since he doesn't have a $5,000 insurance deductible to cover. Consequently, I would think twice about using the winter services of the Dolphin Marina. Another Pischel was stolen in 1993 while the Cats PJ's was in transit from the dealer to us. So if you happen to see a orange Pischel rigid bottomed inflatable (i.e. hard bottom, inflated sides) in the US, chances are it is/was ours...
The only real problem we have with the dinghy is lifting it with the davits: They are too short for the width of the dinghy since the edge of the dinghy cannot clear the edge of the deck (arguably another oversight of the manufacturer). Consequently, the dinghy is always caught on the rear edge of the cat while it is lowered into or lifted from the water. The cost of replacing the davits with longer ones is prohibitive (1,700 british pounds each - with trade-in). Instead, we are mulling relocating them by 6". This would require quite a few reinforcements around the davit base - easier now that we have had some practice with the frame around the heater hatch?
Here is an image of the dinghy pulled into the davits. It's pretty filthy because of an old rusty chain left in it. Note the classy bailing mug and the terrible sealing job I did on the starboard rear transom wall (It may be ugly but it's watertight and can be painted).
The two clips that hold the dinghy in the rear are attached to the block under the davit. A quick calculation using good old statics showed that the working load of the wire should be somewhere in the 2,000 lb range due to the shallow angle of the attachment. Both sets are made of 3/16" diameter 304SS wire that uses two sets of swaged fittings for each "eye" splice. The working load for the wire is 4,000 lbs, so even though the swages will weaken the wire, it should be good to go.
The only hard part was the constant swaging, with a small hand tool at home. Eight crimps per eye times eight eyes makes for 64 swages. Even though the swaging die is made of solid metal, it got downright hot to the touch after a while.